21 Feb

By Bella Hadley (age 11)

“Where did he go?” Mona wondered. Timothy had been acting weird for a while now and today she decided to follow him into the woods on the way home from school. The forest was small and safe but today the light speared the trees like sparkling swords, dancing on the fallen leaves, red and orange, scattered on the even ground.

Timothy had followed the russet-leaved path and simply disappeared. Mona hesitated. Was it safe to move forward? She hadn’t heard anything ferocious – no rustles or screams. But still … She knew she couldn’t just stand there. She took one leaf-crunchy step and then another. Mona stopped, realising that she hadn’t heard the sounds of Timothy walking on the scattered leaves. It had been an impossible silence.

She noticed something on the path ahead of her. It was a blue pen with an elf attached to the end. Timothy’s. A sliver of icy panic dripped down her back. Mona opened her mouth to scream and was stopped by an angry hand slapping her mouth shut.

“Sshh!” Timothy whispered. Dragging her behind a wide tree.

The next moment a window opened in the air, right in front of where Mona had been standing. Timothy stood frozen, watching from behind the tree. Mona copied him, afraid to move.

A clap of thunder heralded the first soldier walking through the window, which had enlarged to the size of a double door. Then the next and the next soldier marched through holding weapons that glinted shiny black. They looked to be a reconnaissance team. Timothy grabbed Mona’s hand and dragged her through the window to the other side.


The night was black and the torches shone weakly into the forest. 

“Mona! Mona!” searchers called. 

“Timothy! Timothy!” searchers called. 

Mona’s mother cried.

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